Reduce your energy bills
Avoiding the peak: stop your bills climbing
Under some contracts, energy can cost you less if you use it outside the peak times—usually after 10pm through till 7am. For some households this can be an effective way to reduce energy bills. To take advantage of reduced tariffs or costs you need to have access to off-peak hot water or time-of-use-pricing.
Off-peak hot water
Hot water makes up 25% of household energy use in the average home, so switching an existing larger electric storage hot water system to an off-peak tariff can save you money on your energy bill. With an off-peak storage hot water system your water is heated during the cheaper, off-peak period of the day and stored for use when you need it. It's only available with some electric hot water systems and through some providers so you'll need to check with your energy retailer to see if your household can access this option. It's important to note that using off-peak hot water doesn't reduce your hot water use so it doesn't help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
If you're considering upgrading your hot water system our hot water information can help you choose the most effective system to save you energy and money.
There is increasing choice in how you buy energy, and how this is calculated. Over time your bill is likely to change from focusing on how much energy you use across a billing period, to how much demand your household places on the network during peak times of the day. It's in your interest to be on the contract that gives you the lowest bill. This will be the one that best matches your overall use and time-of-use pattern. You should check your bills every so often to confirm that you are still on the best offer for you.
Depending on where you live, there are a number of tariffs available that can help you save if you can reduce your energy use at peak times. Time-of-use pricing arrangements (also known as demand-based tariffs) mean that the cost of your energy varies depending on what time of day you use it. Time-of-use tariffs are often divided into two or three periods—peak, shoulder and off-peak. The exact time periods these cover are determined by individual energy retailers, so you'll need to check the specific times when you sign up.
Before making a decision to move to a different billing arrangement, you need to look carefully at your household's timetables and energy use to see whether time-of-use pricing will work for you. To access time-of-use pricing you will also need to have an interval or 'smart' meter installed.
These new electronic meters measure your energy use in half hour intervals. With traditional meters you can’t tell how much energy you are using until your bill arrives, but smart meters can be linked to a range of monitors and displays that make your energy use patterns more visible. This information can help to inform your household’s habits and help you use energy at cheaper times of the day. Contact your energy retailer to see if you can access this option.